ShoreBank Enterprise Group, Cleveland (Evergreen Cooperative Development Fund)
PROJECT: Establishment of the Evergreen Cooperative Development Fund
Helping the environment is a green cause that everyone can get behind. But when you can help the environment as well as create jobs, income and profitable business opportunities for minorities, it gives a whole new meaning to being green. That’s exactly what the ShoreBank Enterprise Group Cleveland is doing through its Evergreen Cooperative Development Fund.
Managed by SEC, the Evergreen Cooperative Development Fund provides financing for a very innovative program called the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative. This model for inclusive economic development is being pioneered in Cleveland.
Last year, as a part of the initiative, ECDF provided funding for two startup businesses that are now serving major anchor institutions in University Circle. Both companies were founded on the premise of not only providing employment for people from the low-to-moderate incomes from neighborhoods that surround University Circle, but also offering those employees an ownership stake in the company after six months on the job. The idea is to create real wealth within inner-city neighborhoods.
The first company, Evergreen Cooperative Laundry, opened its doors in October last year. It’s the first industrial-grade green laundry in Northeast Ohio, and it is designed to handle the needs of large health care institutions such as nursing homes and assisted living homes. It’s also close to all the major hospitals in University Circle.
The Evergreen Cooperative Laundry is on track to hit its goal of 10 to 12 million pounds of health care linens annually. And it uses more than four times less water than the average commercial laundry, in keeping with its green mission. Once fully operational, it will employ 50 residents from the neighborhoods surrounding University Circle. Initially, employees will make a wage that is 20 percent higher than other commercial laundries in the region while having access to a superior benefits package. As if that were not enough, its employees will eventually have an ownership stake in the company.
The second business, Ohio Cooperative Solar, is a community-based energy company that does large-scale installations of solar panels on the roofs of large nonprofit health, education and municipal buildings. With each installation, a leaseback arrangement is made with the participating institution, ensuring a steady flow of revenue based on the purchase of solar-generated electricity.
This startup has already trained its first group of employees, with a goal of once again hiring more than 50 people from the surrounding neighborhoods.
In addition to the 100 jobs that will be created, these two new companies will contribute more than $1.5 million in capital investment to the area while establishing two new anchor employers in the Glenville neighborhood. They’ll also repay their loans to the ECDF, which in turn will provide funding to even more green enterprises. Indeed, another venture called the Green City grower’s Cooperative, an environmentally friendly greenhouse, is slated to open its doors later this year.
JumpStart Inclusion Advisors
PROJECT: Creation of the JumpStart Inclusion Advisors program